Contractors plan £100,000 payouts for blacklist victims

Aaron Morby 10 years ago
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Contractors are planning to offer blacklist victims individual payouts rising up to £100,000 under a proposed industry compensation scheme.

Details of the proposals to compensate blacklisted workers emerged as unions entered into talks to thrash out the terms of the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme.

Proposals drawn up by eight major contractors also set a standard minimum payment of £1,000 for workers deemed to have suffered no loss from appearing on The Consulting Association database.

Any workers signing up to a deal will be required to drop any legal claims.

Already construction union UCATT has slammed the proposals as trying to ‘gag victims’.

Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “The scheme is a complete travesty of justice. The companies involved in blacklisting and wrecking the lives of workers for decades are not even prepared to accept liability for their disgusting actions.

“They are trying to buy the silence of workers for as little as £1,000.”

A spokeswoman for the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme said that the proposals were designed to provide affected workers with a genuine and preferable alternative to High Court action.

She said the proposals removed many of the hurdles that would be faced through litigation and offered a much faster access to compensation payments.

The spokeswoman said: “The levels of awards through the scheme are part of our on-going discussions with UCATT and other workers’ representatives and stakeholders.

“However, we anticipate awards in the range of £1,000 for those whose names were on the TCA records but suffered no loss, potentially rising to as high as £100,000 for the most serious cases.

“While we will be writing to everyone on the TCA records for whom there are contact details, we will also launch a full publicity programme through the media and stakeholders when the scheme is ready to open to applicants to ensure that we reach as many people as possible.”

Twin-track compensation scheme

The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme is being backed by Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci.

It proposes to offer workers a fast-track method of around six weeks to receive fixed amounts depending on the information on their blacklisting file.

More serious cases will go through a full review to examine the losses suffered by a worker. An adjudicator, expected to be a former High Court judge, will then decide on the level of compensation. This process is expected to take around six months.

UCATT said it was especially concerned that the proposals did not represent an admission of liability by the contractors involved in blacklisting.

It also opposed compensation payments starting at just a £1,000 on the scheme, which would be open for just a year.

Murphy added: “The minimum that the blacklisted victims deserve is full compensation and a full public inquiry to fully reveal once and for all, who was responsible for blacklisting them and why.”

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